Apparently Some Outraged Parents Caused Massive Changes To Scooby Doo, Which Was Originally Way Edgier

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr in Scooby-Doo
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

Back before James Gunn became the filmmaker behind both Marvel and DC properties, he wrote the screenplay for the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo. Back in 2017, when the modern family-friendly classic turned 15 years old, the Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director admitted that the Scooby-Doo script he wrote was “edgier” and catered toward older kids and adults. It’s first cut even received an R-rating by the MPAA, too.

In the day and age of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut, DC fans have begun a movement in demand for Zack Snyder’s original vision for Justice League. And Star Wars fans showed their distaste for alleged deleted scenes for Rise of Skywalker by calling for the “J.J. Cut”. Now, one fan made the case to #ReleaseTheGunnCut of Scooby-Doo, since an R-rated version of the Mystery Machine gang peaked his curiosity. Check out what he said:

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James Gunn is prone to answering his fans questions on Twitter and Instagram all the time and the filmmaker responded with more context on the R-rated Scooby-Doo. In his words:

That would be #ReleasetheGosnellCut since Raja Gosnell was the director (& is an exceedingly nice guy.) Yes, the first MPAA rating was R, but it was only because of one stupid joke the MPAA misinterpreted. The movie was originally meant to be PG-13 & was cut down to PG after like 3 parents were outraged at a test screening in Sacramento. The studio decided to go a more family friendly route.

But, what was the joke? James Gunn doesn’t tell us! He does explain that at one point, Scooby-Doo was supposed to be a bit more mature than the PG version that hit theaters almost 20 years ago. Since it is notoriously a children’s property, a few parents got angry at some of Gunn’s winks and Warner Bros decided to shoot for a more crowd-pleasing version. Gunn continued:

Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI’d over. But, thankfully, the farting remained. I thought at the time the rating change was a mistake. I felt like a lot of teens came out for the first film and didn’t get what they wanted (and didn’t come back for the sequel). But today I don’t know. So many young kids loved those movies, which is pretty cool. Also, for the record I doubt any of those old cuts still exist.

James Gunn has stopped the hashtag campaign then and there. No R-rated cut of Scooby-Doo exists and while at the time The Suicide Squad filmmaker didn’t agree with the decision to soften the movie, he’s happy to see that so many people enjoyed it as kids and continue to.

Scooby-Doo starred Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, Linda Cardellini as Velma. The movie was a big hit, making $275 million worldwide on a reported $84 million production budget. Gunn returned for the 2004 sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, but it wasn’t nearly as well received.

This year, Warner Bros is rebooting the Scooby-Doo franchise for the big screen with an animated movie called Scoob! It will star a talented cast including Zac Efron voicing the role of Fred, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, Will Forte as Shaggy and Gina Rodriguez as Velma. Check out Scoob! in theaters on May 15.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.